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Gary Gannon TD

Minister Foley must restore banked hours system for children who lose time with their special education teachers

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon has called on the Minister for Education to ensure that pupils with additional needs do not lose tuition hours as a result of the chronic shortage of primary school substitute teachers.

Deputy Gannon, who is the party’s Education spokesperson, made his comments after new figures revealed that 62 percent of posts on teacher supply panels in Dublin are vacant.

“While vacancy rates are highest on panels in the capital, it has been reported today that one in 10 posts outside Dublin are empty.

“This is putting principals under severe pressure and impacting the ability of schools to meet the day-to-day educational needs of their students.

“It is of particular concern, however, that children with additional needs are losing valuable tuition hours as a result of the recruitment crisis. A recent survey by the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN) found that 83 percent of schools, as a last resort, have had to redeploy special education teachers to mainstream classes to plug the gaps.

“Minister Foley recently ruled out the reintroduction of the banked hours system that ran during Covid for pupils with special needs. This would result in the restoration of any lost tuition time later in the school year.

“The Minister’s stance seems most unreasonable given the scale of the recruitment crisis facing schools, which has largely been blamed on the high cost of finding accommodation in Dublin.

“It is vital that pupils don’t lose out as a result of staff shortages, but particularly vulnerable children who are most in need of the support of their special education teachers.”

November 28, 2022

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